Biological Activities of Pleurotus Mushrooms pp. 329-350
Authors: (D.T.U. Abeytunga, Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Abstract: Pleurotus mushrooms are popular edible mushrooms all over the world. Studies on this genus have shown that these mushrooms possess anticancer, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, antinociceptive, antidiabetic activities and cholesterol lowering properties. Proteins, enzymes, polysaccharides such as glucans, and glycoproteins isolated from Pleurotus mushrooms are responsible for the said activities. Proteins such as ubiquitins, hemolysins and lectins have shown antiviral activity. It is noteworthy, that anti-HIV activity was observed in all 3 classes of aforementioned proteins. Lignolytic enzymes such as laccases present in Pleurotus have helped in converting agricultural waste to animal feed. Glucans are known to possess anticancer activity, antiviral activity and cholesterol lowering properties. Water insoluble glucans present in Pleurotus have been converted to water soluble carboxymethylated and sulfated glucans having antitumor and antiviral activities respectively. A few secondary plant metabolites are identified from Pleurotus mushrooms such as pleurotin which has promising anticancer properties and lovastain with cholesterol lowering properties. An oxidized form of the abundant fungal steroid ergosterol has shown antifungal activity while ergosterol itself was implicated in bringing about inhibition of lipid peroxidation. The total phenolic content is also positively correlated to the antioxidant activity. Carbon-8 compounds arising from the hydroperoxidation of linoleic acid present in the fruiting body, is identified as a compound responsible for the production of the pleasant aroma in the mushroom. A mixture containing such volatile compounds mimicking the concentration in the fruiting bodies has shown antibacterial activity.